With the playoffs all but a pipedream, the New York Mets should continue their youth movement and start Gavin Cecchini at second base.
The New York Mets may have their second baseman of the future in Las Vegas, and it’s time for them to find out. Gavin Cecchini should be recalled to play second base for the remainder of the season so the team can decide if he can be the starter next year.
The 12th overall pick of the 2012 draft has shown an ability to hit in his professional career, hitting .282 in the minor leagues with 121 doubles and a .741 OPS. In 20 MLB at-bats, he’s hit .300 (6-for-20) with a pair of doubles, a home run, and a .883 OPS.
Cecchini moved to second base with the Triple-A 51s this season, playing next to recently promoted top prospect Amed Rosario. Cecchini has adapted to the new position rather well, putting up a .977 fielding percentage at the keystone after having a .945 fielding percentage at shortstop.
Rosario and Cecchini have played together all year as the double play combination in Las Vegas. Rosario proved without a doubt that he was ready, while Cecchini hasn’t been quite as good this season. He’s slashing .263/.324/.371 on the year.
However, last season Cecchini slashed 325/.390/.448 with Vegas, so he has shown he can hit there. Some of his struggles this year could easily be related to learning a new position. Additionally, players can get bored at Triple-A and their numbers can suffer.
Cecchini has been in the organization since 2012 and it’s taken him a long time to be ready. But he was a high school draft pick and players taken out of high school tend to take a little while to mature. This is especially true with hitters, as high school pitchers generally don’t have breaking balls at anywhere close to the level of professional pitchers.
Thus, hitters have to learn how to hit good curveballs and sliders while playing in the minor leagues.
The Mets have several question marks in their infield going into next season. Shortstop is the only position that is locked down entering next year. It’s also highly likely that Dominic Smith will be the Opening Day first baseman. General manager Sandy Alderson recently said that Smith would soon join Rosario in the majors, per MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo.
Dominic Smith is "not far behind," according to Alderson, but no set timetable for him. Rosario, the No. 2 prospect in MLB, debuts Tuesday.
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) July 31, 2017
Second base and third base are still question marks, as the team can’t count on David Wright to be healthy anymore. Neil Walker has had health problems the last two seasons and isn’t likely to get a qualifying offer this offseason.
That leaves two holes that must be filled. Cecchini is talented enough to fill the hole at second, but it’s hard to imagine a team looking to contend counting on a player with only 20 MLB at-bats to start for them.
This season is all but lost for the Mets, who were sellers at the non-waiver trade deadline as they look towards 2018. The team knows what veterans like Walker, Jose Reyes and Asdrubal Cabrera are capable of.
They don’t quite know quite what Cecchini is capable of yet. The rest of the season is a great time to find out. If Cecchini comes up and excels, then they have one less question to answer this offseason. If he struggles, they know that they need to look elsewhere for an answer at second base in the offseason.
The team is focused on 2018. It’s time to see if a major question for 2018 has already been answered. Cecchini needs to play—and he needs to play now.